The Four Seasons: Summer


Vocal music by Edward Elgar, Jean Cras and Franz Schubert as well as new arrangements of international folk songs

Summer – the best season! Flora reaches the peak of its cyclical transient beauty, people gather in parks and at lakes, and there’s a pleasant hustle and bustle out on the streets in crowded towns. What could be nicer at this time of year than actively exploring the beauty of nature by rambling through beautiful, summery countryside? Midsummer feelings resonate throughout ‘Through Field and Meadow’, the summer programme in amarcord’s Four Seasons cycle. Far more than just a ray of sunshine or a chance to bask in the sun, it’s a musical walk through the blossoming fields of Europe and indeed the whole world.

The Four Seasons: Winter


What do you associate with a cold winter’s evening? Perhaps the glowing warmth of a log fire, a flurry of snow outside the window, tales from times past, dreams of spring, get-togethers with friends, and much more besides. Enter this charming setting accompanied by amarcord’s new programme – and be enchanted by compositions by Camille Saint-Saëns, Edvard Grieg, Franz Schubert and Felix Bartholdy as well as their very own arrangements of traditional folk songs.



In the first part, Charles Ives, the ‘father’ of US classical music, is joined by other composers to show how an independent musical language has evolved in America over the past 150 years. Copland and Barber front a growing self-confidence which, nourished and inspired by their British roots and Europe’s seemingly overpowering musical heritage, in essence radiates a fresh religiosity and also combines folkloric and popular elements of the New World. Being a country of immigration and exile, America became a hotspot of musical culture and avant-garde in the 19th and above all the 20th centuries with countless fertile, symbiotic relationships. One example is the 1941 Woodbury Songbook by Hanns Eisler, who was born in Leipzig and was a pupil of Schönberg’s. Another example of this new music is Morton Feldman’s composition ‘Only’ for one voice, a setting of a sonnet by Rainer Maria Rilke.

After the intermission, perennial favourites are performed as well as lesser-known songs by stars from the worlds of musicals, jazz and R&B such as Cole Porter, Ray Charles, Rodgers and Hart, and Tom Waits – sometimes amusing, sometimes melancholic, yet thoroughly American in the best sense of the word!



Pierre de la Rue (c. 1450–1518) & Loyset Compère (c. 1445–1518)

amarcord commemorates two great European composers who both passed away 500 years ago in 1518: Pierre de la Rue and Loyset Compère. Included are Gregorian chants, which formed the basis of their Renaissance compositions. As well as using a series of Easter antiphons as cantus firmus, De la Rue’s Missa paschale paraphrases the associated intrinsic choral melodies of the Kyrie, Gloria, etc. Contrasting with De la Rue’s dense texture, Compère’s Mass, in effect a series of motets, is very close to the text and crystal-clear in its tonal architecture. In the motet ‘Nymphes de bois’ by Josquin des Prez, the last piece on the programme, both De la Rue and Compère are mentioned as jointly mourning the death of the great Johannes Ockeghem.

Benedicamus Domino


Sacred songs from the 19th and 20th centuries

Benedicamus Domino – Let us praise the Lord: For centuries, composers have sought to set to music their hopes and doubts about the Christian promise of salvation. amarcord presents a series of impressive examples from the 19th and 20th centuries which are just as perturbing as they are comforting. Included are composers such as Hugo Wolf, Richard Strauss, Max Reger, Carl Orff, Darius Milhaud, Francis Poulenc and Krzysztof Penderecki.